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Spring Colloquium Series
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Location: Thompson Room, Barker Center, 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (map)
University Lecturer in American History, Oxford University
The Doubts of Their Fathers – The Secular Origins of the Civil Rights Movement
Jim Crow (America’s system of white supremacy) and the so-called secular age (where traditional forms of religion came under question) arose side by side in early twentieth century. But what was the relationship between them?
For many African Americans, the existence of Jim Crow called into question the faith of their fathers. In particular, civil rights leaders challenged traditional Christian beliefs. Church leaders reacted furiously. What had been a close alliance between civil rights leaders and the clergy was rent asunder – with profound consequences for both the church and the early civil rights movement.
Thus although it is something of a truism that the modern civil rights movement – led by a Baptist minister – grew out of the church and Christian social justice traditions, it was, in fact, a surprising departure from what had gone before.
Free and open to the public. A question and answer session will follow the lecture. Please feel free to bring a lunch.